Stats show slippage on equality drive
Statistics show one bureaucratic base is a fair way from hitting its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment targets, and may be filling low-level jobs just to boost numbers.
Reports say the public service in the ACT would need to hire hundreds more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff over the next 18 months to hit its ambitious goal
The ACT government has aimed to boost the indigenous composition of its workforce to at least 2 per cent by 2015-16.
Currently at about 0.9 per cent of the workforce, Indigenous staff numbers would have to be lifted from the current level of just 258 people.
The figure was about 100 people fewer when the target was set in 2010. The Legislative Assembly committee to enforce it, chaired by former indigenous affairs minister Chris Bourke, will consult with the public this week to talk about the success of the venture.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people filled just 0.4 per cent of senior officer-level positions since 2010.
“The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees has progressively increased since the implementation of the employment strategy,” a submission to the inquiry by the public service said.
“While this is a pleasing result, higher numbers at this stage of the strategy were anticipated, with the shortfall at around 0.2 to 0.3 per cent.”
The ACT's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body says the target will only help if the positions it fills are meaningful.
Elected Body chairman Rod Little has raised concerns that one third of the ACT government’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees are only on temporary contracts.
“The Elected Body has also noted … that many of these former trainees are 'trapped' in the lower levels of the public service,” Mr Little submitted to the inquiry.
“We are deeply concerned at the lack of aspirational career paths and development position levels these mostly young people were recruited to.”
Mr Little was quick to praise the ACT government for having an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment strategy at all.